Melanie Leach is Managing Director of Twofour Broadcast and the woman who brought Choccywoccydoodah to UKTV. Melanie was appointed MD in 2005 and subsequently spearheaded a move into entertainment and features that has attracted some of the UK's most prolific on and off screen talent to Twofour.
An award winning Executive Producer, Melanie oversees some of Twofour's most popular shows including Splash! (ITV), Cornwall with Caroline Quentin (ITV1), A Night of Heroes (ITV1), Harry's Arctic Heroes (BBC One) and Channel 5's longest running series, The Hotel Inspector. Here she tells us about her TV viewing habits over the years.
" My first job in TV was as a runner on a topical chat show. On my second day one of the studio guests didn't turn up and I was strong armed into appearing. It was the first and last time I ever went on camera and I can still feel the fear almost 20 years later. My first big break came in my early 20s when I was offered the chance to series produce a new C4 daytime show called Collectors Lot. Producing more than 100 episodes a year was a huge learning curve and a brilliant experience. Since then I've been lucky enough to work with some of the most talented and interesting people in the UK. This month we're shooting with Prince Harry, Tom Daley and Alex Polizzi to name just three. Having the chance to spend time with such a diverse range of people is the very best bit of the job.
I'm ridiculously proud of the range and quality that the team at Twofour deliver. Educating Yorkshire, Splash!, Choccywoccydoodah - they're programmes that I sometimes hear people talking about on the tube. I love that.
My earliest TV memories are Trumpton (which my dad used to come home from work to watch with me at lunchtime) and The Magic Roundabout but it was Worzel Gummidge that really impacted on my childhood. I was so scared of his spinning head I used to cry myself to sleep after every episode. In the end I was banned from watching it!
Grange Hill and Byker Grove were pretty high on the list during my teenage years. What teenage girl didn't fancy Tucker? I also loved learning the dance routines from Top of The Pops and discovering American culture for the first time through The Cosby Show and Happy Days. I still have a massive soft spot for Henry Winkler.
By my 20s I was working in TV and I'd fallen in love with formats. Would Like to Meet, Big Brother, Pop Idol, Grand Designs, Wife Swap, Faking It, The Apprentice, Property Ladder - I adored them all. TV almost ruined my 20s. It was so good there was no time to go out!
I'll never forget seeing The X Factor for the first time. It looked unlike any entertainment show I'd seen in the UK. The scale of the set, the talent, the lighting, the brilliance of the VTs. I remember thinking if I ever helped to make something as faultless as that I'd retire. Needless to say I'm still working...
I love TV with heart and purpose that genuinely moves you. It's great to see how factual formats have embraced that space so well. 24 Hours in A&E, Long Lost Family and Educating Yorkshire make me happy to be in tears. Gogglebox is a smart, funny format that's horribly addictive.
I think what ITV and Leigh have achieved with Celebrity Juice and Through the Keyhole is really inspiring and shows the value in having the confidence to back great talent.
I really admire Dynamo: Magician Impossible. My kids love watching it with me and he's paved the way for a host of talented new magicians. I really enjoyed Tricked on ITV2. The way they've fused street magic with hidden camera stunts is very clever. But if I had to choose only one thing that I watched recently it would have to be Broadchurch. Quite simply the best thing on TV in 2013."
Melanie Leach is Managing Director, Twofour Broadcast